Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Senate Bill Proposes Millions to Buy More C-17s

Senate Bill Proposes Millions to Buy More C-17s
By Ian Thompson

FAIRFIELD - The U.S. Senate has proposed spending $227.5 million to buy more parts for the C-17 Globemaster III jet transport, a step in the direction to buy more of the aircraft.

The money was put in the Senate's version of the 2006 Supplemental Appropriations Bill, according to an announcement from Sen. Dianne Feinstein.

That is $127 million more than the House put in its own version of the supplemental appropriations bill. The funding differences between the House and Senate versions will be worked out in a joint conference committee.

Feinstein said the addition will help keep Boeing C-17 production line in Long Beach stay open past 2008, when the last of 180 C-17s contracted for by the Air Force is finished.

Boeing, the C-17's maker, has lobbied hard to expand the fleet further because the aircraft manufacturer doesn't want to see its Long Beach production line shut down.

Travis Air Force Base is expected to get the first of 13 C-17s starting late July and local community leaders are hoping that if the C-17 gets expanded, Travis could get more of the aircraft.

"This funding would allow the production line to remain open beyond 2008 and ensure that if more C-17s are requested and funded, there will be no disruption in the production process," Feinstein said in a release.

Another $1.6 billion would be needed to buy seven more C-17s which the Air Force listed as a top priority in its 2007 unfunded priorities List. Recent Pentagon studies also stated that the current war has forced the Air Force to fly its C-17s more than it expected.

Reach Ian Thompson at 427-6976 or at

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